Objectors to £25m scheme have their say

LONG-awaited development of a derelict seafront site was today set to move a step closer with the go-ahead expected for a £25 million regeneration project.

LONG-awaited development of a derelict seafront site was today set to move a step closer with the go-ahead expected for a £25 million regeneration project.

Protesters made their final objections to the housing and leisure scheme for Felixstowe's south seafront, at a meeting at Suffolk Coastal District Council's offices in Woodbridge.

Objector Peter Mellor of Cliff Road, Felixstowe said: “I am objecting as a Felixstowe resident and a district council tax payer. I have the support of Felixstowe Town Council and 60 objectors.

“There is no major open air activity park, not even the skateboarding park that Felixstowe has wanted for many years. On summer Sundays the parking doesn't cope with existing visitor numbers, never mind additional ones.

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“The Herman de Stern should be an asset to Felixstowe. The district seem desperate to demolish it.

“Our cash-strapped district is being tricked into a poor quality proposal.”

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Suffolk Coastal district councillor Michael Ninnmey said: “It's definitely the wish of the community that the Herman de Stern, if possible, should be brought back into use for the community.

“We will have a very lame kiosk at the far end of the site, no parent and child parking and very limited disabled parking.”

District councillor Dot Paddick also made her objections known to the meeting. She said: “There are still no three-bedroom affordable homes - they are like gold dust. The affordable housing has little play space.

But district councillor Joan Sennington supported the proposals. She said: “I believe in this plan. I think this is a good plan.

Planners say a new plan from Suffolk Coastal and Bloor Homes has addressed all councillors' previous concerns - with more open space, less housing, and far more recreation and play facilities in the proposed maritime park.

On the table are plans for a £2.47 million maritime-themed park with a wide variety of play equipment for families with young children - from hands on play panels and spring animals for the tiniest, to assault course, climbing boulders, space nets and trampoline for older children.

There will be water play jets, picnic areas and seats, cycle paths, gardens, new toilets, small stage and seating area for musical and theatrical events, 59 beach huts, and kiosks.

The Martello Tower will be refurbished and hoped-for extra profit from the 158 homes will pay to turn it into an arts centre.

Head of planning services Philip Ridley said: “The park now occupies a larger proportion of the site and a larger part of it is given over to formal and informal play.

“The residential development now secures the refurbishment of the Martello Tower and the council is looking towards the future use of the tower as a public access art centre.”

Do you like the south seafront proposals? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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